Prayers for the 3rd Week of Advent (December 17-23, 2023)

The Watchword for the week:
ay the God of peace sanctify you entirely; and may your spirit and soul and body be kept sound and blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Thessalonians 5:23

Stir up our hearts, O Lord,
to prepare the paths for your Only-begotten Son:
that we may worthily serve you
with hearts purified by His coming.

Psalm 126
1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
3 The Lord has done great things for us,
and we rejoiced.
4 Restore our fortunes, O Lord,
like the watercourses in the Negeb.
5 May those who sow in tears
reap with shouts of joy.
6 Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing,
shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves. 

Invitation to Confession
Preparing for the coming Savior means that we need to acknowledge our need for one. Let us prepare the way for the arrival of Jesus Christ by confessing our sins:

Forgive us, loving God, for the winding path upon which you have to travel to find us. As we bend to our culture’s selfish influences, we lose sight of your intended will for us. We often live by fear rather than faith because we underestimate your power to heal the parts of us that are broken and correct the parts of us that have drifted from your influence. Bring us back to you so we might respond to your grace by sharing it with others. Give us the courage to give you unhindered access to all of who we are and, in so doing, find ourselves blameless at your coming. 

Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to them and proclaim that they have suffered long enough, their penalty is paid, and their sins are forgiven.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. AMEN. 

Take time to read today’s Daily Texts.  Remember that God speaks to us through the inspiration of scripture, so approach the opportunity to read the texts as a privilege, eagerly anticipating what might be spoken to you today. How might today’s Word make a part of your life new again? If you do not have a copy of the Daily Texts, you will find today’s texts posted in the margin on the right side of your page (at the bottom if you are on a mobile phone). When you have finished praying, continue as follows.

Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, hear us. 

Creator of all humanity, we call you Holy and seek to worship you all the days of our lives. We pray that the ways of your heavenly kingdom may be made real in the world that surrounds us. May the bread we need today be available for all who are hungry, and may you forgive us just as we can forgive those who have sinned against us. In the time of moral testing, may we listen first for your voice calling to us instead of the call of the world; take from us the self-centeredness of our society. This world, and all that is in it, always has been and always will be yours, Amen. 

Even those who are young grow weak;
the young can fall exhausted.
But those who wait on the Lord for help
will find their strength renewed.
They will rise on wings like eagles;
they will run and not get weary; they will walk and not grow weak. (ISAIAH 40:30-31)

Christ, the Light of the world, empower us to shine as lights in this dark world of sin.
Christ, lead us into good stewardship of creation so that we may preserve and enjoy the world entrusted to us.
Come, Lord Jesus, come,
come, and dwell within our hearts and lives.
We praise you, for your grace is boundless,
and your mercy endures forever. Amen.